If you talk to any of my buddies, you’ll soon find out that it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Fenix flashlights. I started using them about 2 year ago at work and I’m up to about six of them now. The one I’d like to focus on today is the Fenix EO1. The EO1 is a very compact AAA light. I was drawn to the EO1 for a number of reasons. First, it’s a very compact light. Well suited to keychain use, attaching to neck cord or other lanyard, or for just dropping in your pocket. Next, it uses a common, readily available battery, unlike many keychain lights. That’s nice if you’re off the beaten path camping somewhere and need to pick up spares at the local gas station or convenience store. It’s also nice to know you can scrounge batteries from your TV remotes and kids toys if you need batteries before heading out on a trip too! The basic on/off operation was a bonus for me too. I know multi-mode lights and strobes are in now but I like to keep things simple. Lastly, I was familiar with Fenix’s AA lights and had been suitably impressed with those to want to try out one of their smaller models. Let’s take a quick look at the factory specs on the EO1:
* Uses a Nichia white GS LED with a life of 100,000 hours
* Constant brightness: 10 Lumens
* Uses one 1.5V AAA (Alkaline, Ni-MH, Lithium) battery, inexpensive and widely available
* 7.1cm (Length) x 1.4cm (Diameter)
* 21-hour working time (11-hour sun mode plus 10-hour moon mode)
* Made of aircraft-grade aluminum
* Durable Type III hard anodized finish
* 14-gram weight (excluding batteries)
* Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard
* Reliable twist switch
* Capable of standing up securely on a flat surface to serve as a candle
I picked up my EO1 at the Blade Show, in Atlanta, in June of 2008. Over the next 6 months it saw steady EDC use around the house and while on the road. I really appreciated the compact size as it went virtually unnoticed in my pocket. I nearly always have a flashlight on me but it was easier to carry the EO1 than most others. I took it with me at times when I would have left other lights behind and it came in handy more than one time when I left the house thinking I wouldn’t really need a light, but had the EO1 with me anyway. The twist on bezel was easy to work with one hand yet didn’t accidentally get turned on in my pocket. Simple and functional; just like I’d hoped it would be. The Type III hard anodizing has held up well too, although I’ll admit I try not to stuff it in my pocket with other hard objects such as keys or pocket knives if I can help it.
The light output on the EO1 is plenty good for most tasks. I can read by it in a tent, navigate a trail, or just get my car or house keys out and open a lock in the dark. It isn’t a tactical light by any means but it has enough light for all of these tasks and then some. It is far superior in output to my old MiniMag Solitaire incandescent AAA light. The EO1 also has a very respectable battery life for such a small light. 11 hours of peak brightness followed up by 10 hours of “moon mode” is great. In normal usage that works out to months of service between battery changes. Even on an extended campout with heavy night use that should be plenty to get you through a weekend backpacking trip. I like the fact that I can replace it with a relatively common AAA cell too, rather than a coin cell like what is used on many key chain lights. I would very seriously consider using the EO1 as my sole light for a lightweight trip, or possibly as a primary with a button cell light as a backup (only because I’m paranoid and double up on most of my gear!). At Christmas time I picked up two children’s backpacks from REI for my kids. The packs already had whistles built into the chest straps but I wanted to provide the kids with lights as well.
I consider a signaling whistle and flashlight to be the minimum emergency equipment for the woods, even for young children. When it came to a light I wanted something durable, to stand up to the use and abuse of a 4 and 6 year old; something that used a common, easily changed battery; and something that had a long runtime. Enough runtime that it could remain on all night if need be. If, God forbid, one of the kids got separated from me and had to spend the night alone I’d like them to at least have the comfort of a light if they needed it. On top of those factors there was also cost. While I certainly don’t mind spending money on my kids, let’s face it, young kids have a tendency to lose things. I really didn’t want to entrust them with $50 lights if I could avoid it. After doing some research on lights with the features I was looking for I came right back to the EO1 I’d been using since June! The EO1’s modest cost, great performance and run time, and solid build were exactly what I needed. So I ended up ordering a purple anodized model for my daughter and a Blue anodized one for my boy. I can’t think of a better recommendation than that it’s the light I’m using myself and entrusting to keep my own kids safe in the woods and to have with them in an emergency!